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Review: Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG100

Name: Xacti VPC-CG100 (Sanyo)
Type: Pistol grip HD camcorder
Specs: (Click here for full specs)
Price: Circa £230

Capable of 1080p video recording and 14 megapixel still photography, while Sanyo's latest pistol grip HD camcorder falls a little short in a few key areas, it does enough right to make it worth a look.

It may share a similar look and spec sheet, but it's a noticeable improvement over its predecessor the VPC-CG10, squeezing in a CMOS sensor, 5x optical zoom, and SDXC card support among other features.

While 1080p recording still isn't as crisp as some of the rivals, suffering from the odd bit of artefacting and not quite pin-sharp visuals, the VPC-CG100's main video capturing faults lie with the accuracy of its colour reproduction. Though there are plenty of manual settings to manipulate, I struggled to find one that gave me a natural skin tone, never really finding a middle ground between washed-out or over saturated.

Motion blur was also an issue on some occasions, particularly when shooting in full HD. Likewise, the image stabilising function wasn't very effective. Walk around with the VCP-CG100 at anything more than a brisk walk and you'll end up with some noticeably shaky footage.

As mentioned earlier, as part of Sanyo's dual camera range, the VPC-CG100 also features a 14 megapixel still imaging sensor. The VPC-CG100 performs very well with still photography. There are plenty of scene selection modes on offer in the camcorder's menu, and the high-res photos returned vibrant colours and detailed shots. It had a few problems focussing on close-up objects, but apart from that, no complaints.

Though the gun-like design can feel a little uncomfortable after extended shooting sessions, the VPC-CG100's style does give it a few notable plus points. Firstly, it's an incredibly light camcorder at just 176g, and also highly portable at just 86x110x37 mm when closed. Secondly, with only really your thumb free when holding the camera, Sanyo have wisely kept the number of hardware buttons to a minimum, meaning you wont have to fuss about too much to get shooting in just the way you want when an unexpected "YouTube moment" rears its head. Likewise, the menus are clean and easy to navigate, despite having just a few dedicated hardware buttons. Sanyo have also included a HDMI-out port too for viewing your flicks on the big screen, though the lack of an included cable dilutes this addition somewhat.

If you're prepared to live with the device's colour quirks and below-par image stabilisation, the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG100 stakes a good claim for your cash. It's easy to use, manages great still images and wont break the bank at around the £230 mark either, even if it doesn't win any awards for the quality of its HD footage.

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